David MacKay asks his audience to use arithmetic to understand energy challenges

After posting a couple of videos with Amory Lovins providing his energy mirage, several commenters indicated they would like to hear and see a different point of view.

Unlike Amory, David MacKay is a physicist who likes to use real numbers and simple arithmetic to illustrate the scale of the challenge of replacing the power that human society has given its members through the action of digging up the energy stored by natural processes over millions of years in the form of easily burned hydrocarbons like coal, oil and natural gas. He is the author of Sustainable Energy – without the hot air and maintains a blog of the same title.

MacKay does not wave his hands and expect magic; he carefully observes reality, records data, and puts that data together with simple equations to draw pictures that help his audience understand so that they can choose a viable path with full knowledge of the obstacles they will face in achieving their goals.

It would be great to someday watch a discussion between Lovins and MacKay.

Aspen Institute’s Panel Discussion on American Energy Leadership

The above panel discussion — moderated by Coral Davenport, who is an Energy and Environment Policy Reporter for The New York Times — features three energy and policy experts. Meghan O’Sullivan is a professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School. From 2004-2007 she was the deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael […]

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Armond Cohen: Looks at Lovins’s claims with questioning analysis

A few hours ago, I posted a blog titled Amory Lovins-speak: Three misleading statements in a 15 second sound bite. That post included a video embed of Lovins presentation during a March 28, 2014 symposium sponsored by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth titled Three Mile Island 35th Anniversary Symposium: The Past, Present, and […]

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Amory Lovins-speak: Three misleading statements in a 15 second sound bite

I had the opportunity to be in the audience during the above talk. You might notice my impolite interjections; I have often been accused of being very poor at hiding my real reactions and feelings. There is a reason why I stopped playing poker during game nights on the USS Stonewall Jackson. I was losing […]

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Proud nuclear-enthusiast bubble dweller

A friend just passed me a link to an article on Clean Technica by Zachary Shahan titled Why Are So Many Redditors Obsessed With Uncompetitive Nuclear Energy?. Shahan bemoans the fact that nuclear supporters on Reddit seem to outnumber solar and wind supporter and believes that contrasts with the real world as demonstrated by the […]

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Cape Wind scrambling to meet deadline to qualify for $780 million taxpayer gift

Cape Wind is the leading offshore wind energy project in the United States. In 2001, more than 12 years ago, Jim Gordon, the project founder, started the process of promoting his vision of a building a 430 MWe (peak capacity) field of 130 massive (rotor diameter – 110 m, hub height – 80 m, nacelle […]

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Limitations of unreliable energy sources (aka “renewables”)

As part of the discussions stimulated by their airing of Pandora’s Promise, CNN hosted a debate between Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute and Dale Bryk of the Natural Resources Defense Council. That debate included some commentary that I thought was worth promoting to the front page. A commenter named Fred, a tech who has […]

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Solar energy salesman claims nuclear costs twice as much as solar

In the above clip titled Is nuclear power good for our planet Andrew Birch, the co-founder and CEO of Sungevity says that the main reason that he does not like nuclear energy is that it “costs too much”. However, he reveals the shallow nature of his energy production understanding and his financially driven bias by […]

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Michael Brune of Sierra Club calls nuclear energy irrelevant. Robert Stone says it’s vital to our future

During the promotional period leading up to CNN’s initial airing of Pandora’s Promise, Michael Brune, executive direction of the Sierra Club, and Robert Stone, the director of Pandora’s Promise, engaged in a meaningful discussion about nuclear energy hosted by Kate Bolduan. During the discussion, Brune explains that the Sierra Club believes that nuclear energy projects […]

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Everything’s Coming Up Trilliums

by Jeremy Whitlock Ah, Nuclear Power, my old friend. Please do come in. Have a seat. Again you’ve been away too long. I feel silly coming here Doc. Now, now, hush. Sooner or later, everyone comes here. Tell me, how are things going? Well that’s just it Doc – on the face of it you […]

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Open letter to Ralph Nader from Timothy Maloney – Atomic energy is much better than you think

By Timothy Maloney, PhD Editor’s note: Timothy Maloney has written a number of text books about electrical circuits, electricity, and industrial electronics. The below is a copy of a letter that he wrote to Ralph Nader in response to an opinion piece published by CounterPunch under the headline Why Atomic Energy Stinks Worse Than You […]

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Mark Jacobson pushing his plans in appropriate location – late night comedy show

On October 9, 2013, David Letterman interviewed Mark Z. Jacobson, a leading proponent of a 100% renewable energy future. He described Jacobson as a man with a plan that should make us all more optimistic; that plan describes a world that has a completely changed energy supply system that does not threaten us with catastrophic […]

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